By Phoebe Muthart
NORTH WEBSTER — Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch visited North Webster Elementary School Thursday, May 25. She handed out awards to the top readers of the Operation Read Book Boogie program. She also stressed to the students the importance of reading.
The Book Boogie program was launched last year at the school. It is a reading incentive program.
Crouch spoke on the importance of reading for parents, teachers and students. She also stressed the importance of literacy for the community, children and schools.
“If you can’t read you will struggle,” said Crouch. “How many of you want to drive? You have to know how to read to see signs. Remember whatever you do continue to read. You will learn so many things. Education is important and so is reading.”
Brooklyn Heimann was the first place winner who read the most pages — 53,356 to be exact.
The second place winner who read the second most pages is Megan Menzie. She read 191 books and read 31,000 pages.
Both students received prizes including an all-terrain hoverboard, Barnes and Nobles gift cards and book bags, books, among other items.
A teacher received an award for reading the most pages, too. Amy Hill also received prizes including a Barnes and Nobles gift card and book bag, a blanket an Amazon gift card.
Crouch said she is an avid reader who enjoys biographies of presidents. “I like to read for enjoyment,” she said.
She stressed the importance of reading by third grade. “If you can’t read by third grade you will struggle.” It’s critical.”
“We know reading by third grade has proven to be successful,” she said.
Crouch also gave out the Brilliant Firefly Award to Megan Menzie. Crouch noted the state insect is a firefly. The power of young people is to make a difference in the world, Crouch noted.
“This is awarded to young Hoosiers who have exceptional leadership and outstanding community service,” Crouch said.
DeeAnna Muraski thanked those who helped count all the pages read and she said “it was a lot.” This included her board, Principal Lee Snider, Librarian Leslie Tharp and volunteers.
“I’d like to thank all the teachers who encouraged reading, the parents and the students,” Muraski said.
Alex Hall of Kosciusko County Community Foundation announced the final totals for the reading program. He represented the Kosciusko Endowment Youth services program.
“The total number of books read by students and staff was 12,102 and the total number of pages read was 545,308 — over half a million pages,” he said.